Today we went to the Wieliczka Salt Mine near Krakow. There have been active mines here since the 14th century. The salt not only provided the majority of the wealth for the Polish people for many years but it also provided an artistic outlet. When they were done extracting the salt from an area, they would carve statues and even chapels in the remaining vaults. Most of the art work was completed in the 18-19th centuries. It is really spectacular at times. Sometimes it was a little kitsch, but mostly it was quite interesting. The most interesting part for me was that our tour guide sounded like he belonged in a castle in Transylvania. I called him Pawel Drakula. He certainly had the accent and deep voice all he needs is a black suit and red cape to complete the whole creepy picture...especially in a cave!! I feared that one of us was going to get eaten by him, but we all managed to make it out...unbitten.
As you can see from the pics, it is quite dark down there, so many of them didn't turn out. I have posted the best of the lot. As you can also see some of the guys decided to buy pipes today and were tickled to death by walking around puffing air through them and talking in fake British accents while pointing at stuff and saying "intellectual" things. It was quite entertaining.